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G2: Film & Music: Reviews: Classical: El Maestro Farinelli Mehta/Concerto Koln/Heras-Casado DG ARCHIV 4/5

July 11, 2014

Tim Ashley



Most discs exploring the work of the castrato Farinelli concentrate, inevitably, on vocal music. Maverick conductor Pablo Heras-Casado, however, focuses not on the singer but on the impresario, by examining the period (1746-1759) when he was artistic director of the royal theatres in Madrid and Aranjuez, an appointment that effectively put Spain on the musical map. The disc feels bitty, the result, one suspects, of trying to tell too complex a tale in too little space: in addition to surveying Farinelli's championship of home-grown talent such as Jose de Nebra and his encouragement of Italian composers to settle abroad, Heras-Casado looks at Hispanic influences on composers who never went near the place, such as CPE Bach. But the individual numbers are terrific, the conducting flamboyant and the playing punchy and suave. Vocal music isn't totally neglected: countertenor Bejun Mehta is ravishing in one of Farinelli's trademark arias, Alto Giove from Porpora's Polifemo.

Captions:

Maverick . . . conductor Pablo Heras-Casado focuses not on the singer but on the impresario



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Source: Guardian (UK)


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